Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Consumer Push-backs

I was just hit with another late fee, this time by our Chevron/Texaco credit card. Suddenly it hit me—not a knockout punch, more like a whack up side my head.

Duh, dude, why do you need them? (I talk to myself a lot.)

Fair question. Gas companies take all manner of cards, Visa, Mastercard, American Express…all of which we have.

Since I still live in the Dark Ages and pay our bills with checks, I am prime meat for late fees, just one of the new credit card “gotchas.” I used to pay bills once a month. Now I pay four times a month. Whatever can go wrong, will—whether a bill mysteriously disappears (regardless of your foolproof system), or the post office suddenly takes five days to deliver instead of the usual 2-3 days.

Gas credit cards still charge gouge interest rates but we have been paying them off every month for over ten years.

Last month I missed the Chevron deadline by one day. Our thirty-five year relationship meant nothing. Gotcha! They tacked on $25.00 to the bill.

Hence the “duh” moment.

We had already cancelled our Exxon account several years ago over a similar incident. Now we are canceling Chevron/Texaco. But just to add an exclamation point we are cutting up the cards and returning them with the final payment.

We still have Shell cards. It may take a bit longer to wean our son off that last card, even though he now has a Visa card, and a debit card.

We are buying most of our gas now at Costco—routinely ten cents lower per gallon. They take American Express, as does every other pimping station.

And no, I did not misspell pumping.

We have also been Wells Fargo Bank customers for over thirty years. In yet another “push-back” move we are seriously looking into moving our checking account to a smaller, community-centered bank that loans money to small businesses.

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